Monthly Archives: November 2011

REALLY Vintage Dressing: the 1800s and Beyond

Though I’m thoroughly devoted to mid-twentieth century aesthetics, I’m also quite fond of historical costuming – I’m sure a lot of vintage-wearers can relate. I have a great love of fashions from about the Georgian Era onwards, particularly of the Regency and Victorian eras. It’s probably my weakness for period drama and my indomitable love for Jane Austen that has made this the case. It’s probably also to do with an all-encompassing nostalgia for the past, wherein anything old and musty is instantly appealing.

What has made me ponder this is the string of updates I’ve been hearing about the 2012 Jane Austen Festival, which has put me in something of a 19th century mood. I went to the festival for the first time this year and was utterly overwhelmed by how intensely devoted some people are to historical costuming. It was the first time in awhile I’d felt underdressed, though my friend Julia and I did glam up for the Regency Ball in period-appropriate attire (we even made it into the Canberra Times – see here). I spend so much time immersed in the vintage subculture which is mostly concerned with the twentieth century that it was almost surprising to discover that there are devotees of eras far older and grander than this. It would be a different sort of obsession, as I daresay the curious looks you’d get on the street would increase exponentially if you began to wear bonnets and floor-length gowns out in the day-time, and therefore I suppose there wouldn’t be so much opportunity for total immersion.

I had a fun experience with this sort of thing when my visit to Guernsey in the Channel Isles earlier this year happened to coincide with a local folk festival called the “Le Viaer Marche”. It’s an annual festival during which locals dress up in Victorian garb quite earnestly and folk dance for hours. It was a curious thing to behold. I’ve been dying to share some photos of the event, so voila. Perhaps you can appreciate the absurdity as I did.

Seeing as I regrettably did not bring a Victorian gown with me on my travels, I did my best in a Victorian-necked blouse and brooch.

Have any of you ever strayed into historical costuming?



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A Very Belated Outfit Post

I was flicking back through the Photo Booth library on my Mac and found some pictures I took earlier this year, assumedly in a moment of self-indulgence. I think it was Easter-time and I was up visiting my Grandparents. It was one of my first attempts at pin curls, and they turned out quite well, which was probably the motivation for this kitchen photo shoot. My hair was a lot shorter in April – I’d just had it cut for a 1920s party. Short hair is the best for pin curls.

I’m wearing an early 1960s dress I bought in Portland when I was there in January. It’s an odd sort of mustard colour that I wasn’t sure about at first, but it’s grown on me since then. Plus the fabric is beautiful; you can’t tell but it’s almost a brocade.

Dress: 60s, Ray’s Ragtime in Portland
Belt: second-hand, Ray’s Ragtime in Portland
Cardigan: Alannah Hill
Necklace: Disney Couture
Hair Flower: Sportsgirl


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Just Dropping By

I hope you’re having a splendid weekend, friends. Here are some internet-y things that have taken my fancy this past week:

If you’re in Sydney this week, you should definitely come to Old Hat: The November Social to hang out with myself and other fun vintage-loving friends for an evening of cocktails and lively banter. It will be worth your while!

I am currently immersed in essays and such, but freedom awaits! Here’s a little snap from my day which was unfortunately spent studying and mooching about the house.

Blouse: 40s/50s, etsy
Necklace: 50s, Camden Passage markets in London
Sunglasses: 50s, Emporium in Greenwich
Scarf: David Jones

I hope your weekend lasts forever.


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Antique-ing in Brisbane

I loved the heritage feel to Brisbane while I was there over the weekend. Far from being devoid of pretty buildings, Brisbane has a myriad of old edifices to enjoy. “Old” in the Australian sense of the term (aka late 1800s, early 1900s), not in the European sense of the term (Shakespearean times). Accordingly, I frolicked about in a couple of these places.

I theorise that all Australian cities have a token old arcade. In Sydney it’s the Strand Arcade, but in Brisbane there is the aptly-named Brisbane Arcade. These arcades are typically the homes of eccentric little stores: boutique jewellers and such. I passed by a few times, but when I actually went to pay my respects to the arcade it was early Sunday morning. The upstairs was closed, but a kind old store-owner used her card to help me get up there. The floor was completely empty, so I had a little wander ’round, enjoying the old-fashioned stained glass windows and light fittings with it all to myself. Unfortunately I then found myself trapped on this floor. As delightful as it was, I was a little distraught and had to be rescued by the same lady who thankfully came up to visit her shop. Alas!

I took the opportunity to pose for a moment:

Dress: vintage 50s, Love Vintage Fair
Bag: Fringe Bar Markets, Sydney
Hat: 40s, Camden Passage Markets in London

If you look behind me here you’ll see a store displaying a Napoleonic War jacket in the window. Amazing!

After exploring the arcade quite sufficiently, I made my way to Paddington where there is a lovely array of vintage stores. The streets there feature a lot of that style of architecture typical of Australian country towns (I’m afraid some of you might not know what I mean) which I love.

The best place I visited there was the Brisbane Antique Centre. Oh my, what a place. Antique centres are always overwhelming. I’m not going to tell you any more about it, because these photos will describe more aptly the sensory overload of the place.

Mmm, so amazing. I had to stop myself from spending $80 on the most perfect 50s sunglasses I’ve ever seen. I did, however, emerge with a bevy of other delights which I’ll show you very soon.

Enjoy your week!

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Cute Café: Cabinessence, Brisbane

I visited the most divine café when I was in Brisbane called “Cabinessence”. It wasn’t the only adorable café I happened across in Brisbane, but it was certainly one of the most adorable cafés.

Cabinessence is a pleasant amble out of Paddington CBD down a few leafy residential streets. It had a very lazy weekend vibe to it which suited my own very lazy weekend quite nicely. Apart from myself, the place seemed to be frequented by an ongoing trickle of regulars, all of whom chattered amongst themselves as well as with the friendly baristas. Some just popped in for coffee; others settled down on one of the bar stools or sofas and whiled the time away.

I chose to settle down because I am a lady of leisure and have nothing but time.

The decor is so cute and sort of has a 50s feel with certain pieces. I particularly love the tiki bamboo bar stools. It’s all very casual, but doesn’t lack any charm.

I ordered iced coffee as an antidote to the frightfully warm day (I don’t deal well with heat), and it came in this super-cute cocktail shaker. Cabinessence does the kitsch, mis-matched tableware thing very well – the souvenir spoon was an especially nice touch. Plus the coffee was spectacular.

Cabinessence doesn’t do food apart from toast, but when the toast is this great, I suppose there isn’t really a need to expand the menu. There is a choice between avocado or tomato, as well as an array of spreads and such. Seeing as avocado is my life, I obviously chose it as my topping. They put on a nice thick layer, not skimping as one might expect (the world usually doesn’t love avocado as much as I proclaim to).

I sat there for a good half hour or so enjoying the afternoon. If you need somewhere pleasant to sit, and you’re willing to walk up a somewhat steep incline to get there, Cabinessence is ideal. Brisbanites: you should visit Cabinessence, pronto.

117 Enoggera Tce,
Paddington, Brisbane

Cabinessence on Urbanspoon

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